CNN.com Religion Editor
Pope John Paul II, famous for his power to communicate the Roman Catholic Church’s message around the world, is getting another chance to do so, with the Vatican launching pages dedicated to him on Facebook and YouTube.
The Holy See launched the social networking pages Tuesday, in advance of the beatification of Pope John Paul II on May 1, the last step before sainthood.
"The aim is to diversify the instruments so as to give this initiative as great an exposure and as wide a coverage as possible,” the Vatican press office said in a statement.
The new Facebook and YouTube pages feature video clips from John Paul’s nearly 27-year pontificate and are being maintained by Vatican Radio and of the Vatican Television Centre.
The Vatican announced in January that John Paul II, who died in 2005, would be beatified later this year.
The social networking campaign around his beatification comes after Pope Benedict praised online social media, even while identifying some dangers of the new technology.
“In the digital world, transmitting information increasingly means making it known within a social network where knowledge is shared in the context of personal exchanges,” Benedict said in a January statement for the church’s World Communications Day.
“This dynamic has contributed to a new appreciation of communication itself, which is seen first of all as dialogue, exchange, solidarity and the creation of positive relations,” he said.
In order for a candidate to be beatified, one miracle after death must be proved through the scrutiny of medical and theological experts.